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The Ultimate Bucket List for Fresh Graduates

The Ultimate Bucket List for Fresh Graduates

Most of us has attempted to complete some form of student bucket list. Tasks from Pub Golf, pulling all-nighters in the library and going out in our PJs, all of which needed achieving before the final semester was through.

So, how about a bucket list for graduates? A guide of things that you need to do to get the most out of life and keep on top of your new responsibilities.

Here it goes — your Graduate Bucket List:

Keep an open mind when it comes to your career

1. Be prepared to zig zag through your career

Leaving a role that brings you no joy does not have to be a negative experience; it can teach you a lot about what you want in your career. Graduate Verity Prentice from Hallmark Care Homes explains how her journalism degree didn’t take her where she’d expected:

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“Working at a publishing house selling advertising space was hard work, but I learnt a lot about marketing and how to sell to the most difficult clients over the phone. I then got a job working in recruitment, before I realised how much I missed journalism and that if I combined my sales skills and journalism skills I could become very good at PR.”

2. Ditch the plan

Life does not go according to plan and lack of experience will hold you back when it comes to your career. While you may hope to get straight into a high level job, it’s important to be realistic about your experience and how this relates to career opportunities.

“I had no marketing experience other than my degree. I ideally wanted a graduate role but my first job was as a digital marketing assistant.”

– Marketing graduate Patrick Robinson, Linx Printing Technologies

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Patrick recognised he didn’t have enough experience to get on a graduate scheme, so he initially took an assistant level role. If this sounds like you then ditch the pride and recognise that you need the experience of an entry level job before you can set your sights on a more senior role.

Start thinking about your financial future

3. Just because you have more money doesn’t mean you should spend it

Student living was tough. But the fact is, you’ll soon find life as a graduate tough, too! Gone are the perks of student discounts, cheap rent, and splitting bills with numerous housemates. Yes, you’ve got more money now that you’re earning, but expenses are higher too. Resist elaborate spending where possible — you’re not a millionaire yet!

4. Learn to live below your means and save at least 10% of your income

Saving money may not be the first thing on your mind upon leaving university, but tucking away 10% of your income into a savings account every month will really pay off.

Graduate incomes and expenditures can initially be very erratic. Live below your means where possible and you will have funds available when you need them, allowing you to avoid costly borrowing.

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5. Learn to save raises, not spend them

As you zig-zag your way up the career ladder, your salary will increase. We’re not saying to sit in the cold rather than put your heating on just to save some pennies, but don’t splurge on luxuries either. Remember everything you learnt about budgeting as a student. Your financial future depends on you being disciplined.

Time is more valuable than money

6. Don’t waste your free time

Gone are the days of mindlessly watching Netflix instead of attending lectures. Trade in time spent watching TV, and use it to build your life experiences. This could include volunteering for a charity — not just to enhance your CV, but for the feel good factor!

Spend time with friends and family; your free time is at a premium when you work 40+ hour weeks, and relationships are equally as precious. Time is more valuable than money, so call your mother, visit your grandparents, and feel warm and fuzzy inside.

7. Learn new skills

The end of university is by no means the end of your educational journey. Take courses, learn new skills, or try out a sport and progress yourself; your life will feel fuller for it. You could even learn a new language — but avoid these common mistakes!

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8. Make your dreams come true

Never take a gap year? It’s not too late to travel the world. If you’re a travel bug, consider saving up for that big trip instead of spending your disposable income on big nights out, DVDs and computer games.

Birds of a feather flock together

9. Value some relationships

Relationships are important, but not with people who always bring you down. Staying in contact with people you used to know — be it from school, university or past jobs should be a good thing. But times change and if those people are not on the same page as you anymore, and spending time with them negatively impacts your life then cut them off now! Troublesome relationships can drag you down and hold you back.

10. Spend more time with your successful, ambitious friends

Their energy, ideas and enthusiasm can really rub off on you. Be sure not to try and compete with them; instead, allow their ambitions and experiences to help drive your own career forward.

Reunions can be a great way of seeing where course mates took their careers. They’re also an ideal time to network, make contacts and connections.

So have at it, graduates. Let the next stage of life begin!

Featured photo credit: Danka & Peter via magdeleine.co via magdeleine.co

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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